Because of my job, I don’t have the bandwidth to organize activities anymore because I can be summoned at a moment’s notice to work on the weekend. So, most of my service work is done by teaching or making largesse (gifts that people can give other people). This month’s largesse was buttons! I know. Right now you’re thinking, “Buttons? Why are buttons a big deal?” If you’re not a re-enactor, this is a perfectly good question to ask. Just think of it in terms of the old formula, “Time = Money.” Handmade buttons take a lot of time to make. They lend authenticity to garments. When someone gives you handmade cloth buttons, they’re handing you hours of their time. And why are handmade buttons a good craft for a busy person? Because it’s a small, portable project that you can take out of your purse and work on in moments when you can’t do anything else…like when it takes your computer 20 minutes to boot up a work.
My second service project this month was teaching a class on how to make a three-pouchlette German bag. This was a test teach at Isenfir’s Gemlutlichplaz event…where is snowed…in Charlottesville. Happily, the class was moved to an indoor location in a beautiful lodge with a roaring fire. There were five ladies and one gent in the class, which was a test-teach for Pennsic. Right now you’re thinking, “What’s a test teach?” If you’re not a teacher, this is a perfectly good question to ask. Generally, when a teacher is trying to work the bugs out of an arts & crafts class, she does a test teach. For mine, I try not to charge any money for these classes because I don’t know how they’re going to work out. It’s one thing to make something yourself. It’s another thing entirely to teach the skill to someone else. Most times, the classes work out. Sometimes they don’t. Fortunately, this class worked out just fine.
The purses should be made in leather but the class was given using heavy felted wool, which is a good analogy. The added benefit of teaching with wool is that it’s a far less stabby proposition then trying to teach someone how to make an object in leather, which requires greater hand strength and sharper tools.
The last photo is my latest clothing project for Pennsic. I’m going to try to wear German clothing every day. We’ll see how the weather goes.